Directed by Derek Jarman and released in its home country of England in 1986.
Possibly one of the most ambitious films ever devised; just the idea of recreating such fine paintings and telling the story of one of the most elegant painters in the history of the art would make most buckle at the beginning but Derek Jarman, however, does not buckle. With this film he has produced such a beautifully dark film that, to the untrained eye, seems so incredibly pretentious but I can only disagree wholeheartedly with that statement.
The choice to move the action from Italy to England is an odd one, of course, but I think that that fact becomes irrelevant when you consider how beautiful the film is: the cinematography and the sets are just so exquisite and if the actors weren’t speaking in their typical British accents you’d be stunned to find out it was filmed in England.
Film as art, and art as film; Jarman transcends so many boundaries with this one, it truly is one of the defining achivements in cinematic history for me.
Directed by Joonas Neuvonen and released in its home country of Finland in 2010.
Uncompromising and raw, this video diary of the life of a drug addict ends up less of a documentary and more of a simple precursor to forthcoming events when the teenager at the center of this film who would go on to kill himself not long after the film was made available. The fact that this kind of thing goes on in the youth of a country in this day and age is not surprising at all really. It’s happening in the US with prescription drugs and anti-depressants (that just like in the film are prescribed in France) and in the UK to a lesser extent to things they’re calling “legal highs”.
In my own opinion, hard drug addicts like this deserve no pity whatsoever especially considering the way in which this one and the other users depicted here gleefully take the drugs and live their lives around it. It advocates drug use much more than it shows any effort to combat it – and just presenting the reality really is not enough in this day and age when there are kids who are susceptible and impressionable enough to merely watch a clip from this and go out and do it.
Here’s a tip for anyone wanting to watch this: if you’re easily upset, don’t watch it; if you’re easily put off by needles, don’t watch it; if you are however interested in watching some little teenager get his rocks off and be depressed about it for the rest of the time until his next fix, then by all means watch it.
This just wasn’t for me.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman and released in its home country of Sweden in 1968.
Shame is yet another absolutely magnificent character-driven drama by the master that is Ingmar Bergman. The performances from Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow are among the best of both of their careers even surpassing some of those in other Bergman productions (for example Ullmann’s spellbinding performances in Autumn Sonata and Persona aswell as von Sydow’s challenging performances in The Magician and The Seventh Seal). The lack of music adds a lot of depth that would otherwise have been glossed over had there been a traditional score. It is also very well paralleled with the fact that our two main characters are musicians themselves yet we hear none of their abilities nor anything on the score.
While the screenplay has some minor details that I felt were rushed and could’ve been fleshed out or erased completely before filming began – for example the young soldier who supposedly was living inside their greenhouse for weeks – I still feel that this is one of Bergman’s strongest films, if only for the stunning character development and awe-inspiring cinematography that is so prevalent in any of Bergman’s films that were filmed on this island.
Bergman’s journeys deep into the human soul and heart have always had profound effects on me and my own understanding of human nature, but I’m sure I’ll never be able to display it so vividly and illustriously as Bergman did throughout his career. I can only hope that I never run out of his films to watch… but sadly I know that one day I will.